PANDEMIA: A tribe of Arara is the "most infected" in Brazil

The news is potentially devastating for the tribe, which first came into contact with outsiders only in 1987 and is therefore particularly vulnerable to imported diseases!

by Federico Coppini
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PANDEMIA: A tribe of Arara is the "most infected" in Brazil

The Araras from the Cachoeira Seca area are the group with the highest rate of COVID-19 infection reported in the Brazilian Amazon. According to official statistics, 46% of the 121 Arara living in the reserve have contracted the virus, but according to experts it is very likely that all members of the tribe of that territory have now been infected!

Brazil has the second-largest outbreak in the world and has reported nearly 1 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 47,700 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard. But while the mortality rate is about 6.4% among the Brazilian population, that number rises to 12.6% among indigenous populations The news is potentially devastating for the tribe, which first came into contact with outsiders only in 1987 and is therefore particularly vulnerable to imported diseases!

It is no coincidence, experts say, that the reserve is one of the most invaded territories in the whole Amazon: hundreds of timber traffickers, land hoarders, breeders and colonizers operate illegally within its borders.

The Arara reserve is located within the Xingu basin, an area where COVID-19 is now ramping up among dozens of indigenous communities. Some of the area's reserves are known to be inhabited by uncontacted tribes, the most vulnerable people on the planet.

“We are very worried,” an Arara man told Survival International. “At the medical outpost [near the village] there are no medicines, no respirators. We would like a respirator in the outpost, so we don't have to go to town.

The village is three days away from the city where the hospital is located. We ask for protection for these coronavirus cases. The number of invaders has increased significantly, cutting many trees. The government doesn't stop them.

There are too many invaders in the area”. The Arara are demanding the immediate eviction of all invaders from their territory, and an effective health response to prevent deaths. Their allies, including Survival International, are pressuring the Brazilian government to intervene urgently.

Fiona Watson, Research and Advocacy Director of Survival International, who has visited the Arara tribe, said today: “In the last 40 years the Arara’s forests have been decimated and many of them have died from introduced diseases.

President Bolsonaro is now overseeing the destruction both of a once-thriving people, and the rainforests they managed and looked after for millennia. Brazilian and international solidarity to resist this genocide is desperately needed”.